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Manchester United were crowned the champions of the UEFA Europa League 2016/17, when the Red Devils trumped Dutch side AFC Ajax 2-0 at the Friends Arena Stockholm, on Wednesday night.
With the win, Jose Mourinho’s side got their hands on the third trophy of the first season under the Portuguese boss, having already won the FA Community Shield and the EFL Cup earlier in the season. The league triumph also nailed a passage for United to the UEFA Champions League for the Manchester, after they missed out on qualification via a league finish, having finished in the 6th position in the EPL.
Below are three reasons why Premier League fans should be happy about United winning the Europa League:
Yes. With the new champions winning the trophy, the Premier League will have five representatives in the next year’s UEFA Champions League.
The clubs that finished in the top three places in the league standings: Chelsea, runners-up Tottenham Hotspur and third-placed Manchester City all went through to the group stages of the top elite side, whereas 4th placed Liverpool will be entering the group stages of the competition if they win the qualifying round. And now United, with their win, have ensured a direct entry into the group stages.
This is certainly good news for the Premier League fans as it provides a great opportunity for the clubs to boost up the UEFA co-efficient for England, which will aid them in keeping hold of the four participating places in the Champions League for the coming years.
Without the appeal of Champions League last season, Manchester United were able to pull of some spectacular deals to bring in some of the best names in the world in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Now that their participation in the next year’s premier event of European football is confirmed, United will definitely be able to bring in more world-class players in the summer. There have been many top names linked with a move to Old Trafford in the summer, but as is the case with best of the players, signing them would have hinged on United’s Champions League qualification. The Red Devils victory against Ajax made that possible and soon we may get to see the likes of French international Antoine Griezmann seeking a move to the league. While that may not be a pleasing thing for the other clubs, it will just be a great sight for the neutrals.
One cannot deny the fact that Premier League clubs have struggled to perform in the continental stages. Season after season they have come up short against the other top teams in Europe, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich etc. on a few occasions, Premier League clubs have even been dumped out by far lesser teams too. In such scenario, the English clubs and English football has been under plenty of criticism.
The last time we saw a good performance from an English side was back in the 2011-12 season when Chelsea won the Champions League beating Bayern Munich on penalties. Ever since, no English teams has made it to the finals after that. Liverpool made it to the finals of Europa League in the 2015-16 season but were beaten by Spanish giants Sevilla.
There used to be a time in the 1970’s when English teams use to dominate the continental stages, but things haven’t been that way for a long time now. Hopefully, United winning the Europa League will kickstart another era of English clubs dominating the continental competitions.